A day in the life of a Bar Waiter

A very good evening to you and welcome from the Calypso bar! This is the bar that I am working in I am on this cruise, along with two bartenders and six bar waiters. We are sailing in the Caribbean at this time of the year and many of the guests are out on the open decks, enjoy the pleasant temperatures and the pool. The Calypso Bar is the closest one to the main pool, so as you can probably imagine, we are very busy during the day.

My name is Alejandra Gomez and I am from Argentina. I work as part of a team of 80 people in the Bar department. With 10 bars onboard this ship, we work in a different bar every cruise. This is to ensure, that everyone gets the chance to make the same amount of money in comission from the drinks that we sell. As you maybe know, we get a very low basic salary and the rest of our money is made from the commission on the drinks sold.

Since some bars are better frequented by guests than others, often also depending on the itinerary of the ship, the most fair way is that everyone gets to work in all locations.

I like to work the late shift, especially at the pool bar. I start at 15:00 until closing time, which could be at midnight, or later. Depending on what activities are scheduled for this area and of course how much partying the guests want to do.

Luckily as a bar waiter, I do not have a lot of preparation to do before my actual duty begins. Of course I need to follow the company rules in how I am groomed and dressed in my Uniform, but other than that, I show up at the bar, grab my order book and tray and get on my way.

I go from table to table, sun-chair to sun-chair and ask the guests what they want to drink, ask them how their day was and suggest that they try the drink of the day. Every day we promote a different drink and of course we need to know the ingredients and be-able to describe the taste of the drink to the guests. We also can offer the guests a choice of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. This often works well during the day, when guests are at the pool, it's hot and people get thirsty more easily.

I have found that the most efficient way to do my job is to go around and collect several drink orders and then go back to the bar and place the orders with the bartenders, and while they are preparing the drinks, to post the charge to the guests account. For every guest we need one charge ticket, which the guest has to sign the moment we serve the drink to them.

We have a cashless system onboard, which most ships have by now which means there is no dealing with cash, different currencies and calculating prices.

Besides selling drinks, we also need to make sure the tables which the guests use are clean and all the empty glasses are removed – and at the very same time, we try to sell more drinks of course.

Next week we will have to do some of our training courses in sales, but I will tell you about this another day.

Alejandra Gomez, Argentina